Another choice [Archives:2007/1041/Community]

April 12 2007

By: Waela Humran
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“He hit her again last night,” my grandmother said, “It's a usual thing; he does it all the time.” “Poor girl, how long must she bear this suffering and torture?” my mother replied. “She has no choice. She must stay with him or starve on the street,” my grandmother said.

Every time I heard this conversation between my mother and my grandmother about our neighbor's poor wife, a question came to my mind: “Isn't there any other choice? Does she have to live with this animal or be homeless?”

However, I didn't dare speak my thoughts for fear I'd be scolded for putting my nose in adults' business. I came out of our apartment wearing my school uniform and there she was at the door, our neighbor's little wife with her fine facial features.

When I looked at her, I felt like I was in front of an angel who had just come from heaven. Her dark, black hair, which was falling over her shoulders like a waterfall, made me think of the little mermaid in the fairy tales.

When I looked into her charming eyes, I saw the tragedy of every grief in the entire world. I could see pain and sorrow blended in her look. That monster, how could he hurt such an angel? Wasn't she his wife? Shouldn't he love her or is love something only found in fairy tales?

A thunderous voice cut through my thoughts and disturbed the silence of the moment. “Where are my shoes?” her husband yelled. She trembled and went inside to find them. Then, out came a proud, arrogant man, as if he'd just won a battle against an antagonist or a powerful enemy. He looked at me with his cruel eyes and smiled as if he was the sweetest person in the world, but there was only a great desire within me to beat him.

“How are you, my boy? How's your father? I haven't seen him for a long time. Please convey my greetings to him,” the man said with a smile. I didn't respond. He left and the same question rang in my head: “Isn't there another choice?”

She came closer with a smile on her face, but it wasn't her usual smile. This smile carried something different. It really was beautiful and I wasn't used to it. This smile said many things I didn't understand; however, it was the most beautiful smile I'd ever seen. She came closer, put her hand on my shoulder and kissed me. “Go to school. It's getting late!” she said with the same smile.

After a long, boring school day, I returned home with that charming smile still in my head. There was a large crowd in front of our building and I sensed a strange fear. I walked past the crowd and went upstairs. There were people in front of our neighbor's door. I slipped inside the apartment where the smell of gas was all around. I wondered where she was.

My eyes wandered around the place and came to rest on a body lying on the bed in endless peace, her hair covering part of her face and a white flower in her hand, which was resting on her chest. Again, she looked like an angel who had just come from heaven.

“She isn't moving or breathing. She's gone,” a man said. “She's passed away, that miserable girl,” a woman said. Everyone was repeating the same things, “She's gone. She's passed away.”

Tears fell from my eyes and I couldn't stop them. However, when my gaze fell on her face, my tears turned into a smile. When I saw that tender smile radiating from her face, all my grief turned to peace.

Who said she was miserable? I could see happiness in her pretty face. Who said she wasn't moving? I could see her opening her eyes, looking at me, getting off the bed like a princess, passing through the crowd, coming closer to me, putting her hand on my shoulder, kissing me and giving me the white flower. Then she said, “There was another choice.”